J&K High Court directed the forest department to take steps to stop encroachment
The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir ordered to remove encroachment from forest.
The court was hearing a writ petition filed by Mohammad Sadiq Wani, seeking a direction upon the forest authorities to extend the period of his permission for extraction/collection of non-timber forest produce (NTFP) from Marwah Forest Division.
A single Judge Justice Rajesh Bindal heard the petition. He was deeply concerned over the encroachment in forest under Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The court ordered the forest department and said, “this Court is constrained to observer that the way the forest department is working cannot be appreciated. It has large area under its control in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir but unfortunately, not being monitored properly through there are ways and means to do the same. Forest cover is decreasing as encroachments are increasing day by day. Illegal forest cutting is also rampant. Some urgent steps are required to be taken to take care of our green cover”.
Justice Bindal started in the order that “On year to year basis, the contracts are awarded for extraction/collection and removal of NTFP (Non Timber Forest Produce),which is of natural growth, as has been submitted by learned counsel for the respondents. In such a situation, how extension for extraction/removal of NTFP can envisaged is a mistry. It cannot be comprehended as to how at the same time two persons can be allowed to extract and remove NTFP, from the same area. This may create dispute amongst the contractors”.
The court stated that in these type of agreement highest level of examination required to find out.
The court further observed that “Fool proof method or removal are also required to be put in place. Under what circumstances, the contractor, who had been awarded contract for extraction of NTFP for a particular period can be granted extension when the period of extension may overlap with the period for which next year’s contract may be awarded”.